Thursday, 21 November 2013

The New and Improved Google Apps Marketplace

Great news for Google Apps users and admins!  In case you missed it, Google recently updated the Google Apps Marketplace.  The Google Apps Marketplace is a great resource to access best in class applications that extend the value of Google Apps.  One of the objectives of the updated marketplace is to make it even easier for Google Apps admins to access and administer these 3rd party apps via the admin console.  In addition to seeing 3rd party apps in the console, admins can also see product reviews so they can quickly choose the best applications for their users.  Insightly, along with twenty other 3rd party applications -- including applications from Cloud Alliance members -- is now available directly from the Google Apps Admin console.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

5 Things that Make Project Management Difficult – Part 2

In Part 1, we reviewed three key areas or items where project management can be difficult…basically five common pet peeves of project managers that we’ve heard from our user base. In Part 2, we’ll cover two more and leave the forum open for your input and thoughts as well.

Poor Management Within
This is a broad issue that many project managers may have to face. Project managers can easily be frustrated when either the client or their direct boss is not giving them the attention or the support that they need. Each case may be different, but typically it’s not the specific fault of the individual, but an issue at the organization level. Maybe the client contact wasn’t properly prepared to take on the role, or maybe the project manager’s boss has too many other responsibilities to give full attention. Whatever the specific issue, the main thing is to try and resolve the issue. A system that contains both customer and project data can help project managers review the big picture (i.e. which customer projects take priority) as well as prioritize specific milestones and project tasks.  So sit down with either your customer contact or your boss and use the data at hand to help you address any organizational issues that may arise on your projects.

A Bad-fit Customer
Sometimes things just don’t work out. A solution that looked like a good fit for the project client just isn’t anymore. Selling the project to the wrong customer doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and in the end it doesn’t get you a happy, referenceable customer, but it can leave you with a bad reputation. A project manager trying to force a solution certainly puts everyone in an uncomfortable position and it can be very frustrating trying to lead this type of project. If you constantly have to manage ‘poor fit’ projects then you might want to consider sitting down with the sales team or account managers. Use the data in your CRM to identify common threads among these bad projects that your sales team can use to identify a bad-fit customer and avoid these situations in the future.

If you’re a project manager, these are just five issues of what might be a longer list of frustrating items. If you have more that you’d like to share, please comment and start a discussion. We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Friday, 8 November 2013

5 Things that can Make Project Management Difficult – Part 1

The job of the project manager is not an easy one. Sometimes it’s not even straightforward or logical. It can be rewarding - just maybe not a position for the faint of heart.  So what we’ll cover in this two part series are five things that drive project managers crazy or make project management difficult at times. For some, these may just be pet peeves, but we’re betting that they are more widespread and may help you as you navigate your customer projects. 

The Disengaged Customer
We do everything we can to manage our customers well. Full-featured online customer relationship management (CRM) systems can be used to manage all of our contact information, project milestones, project documents and specific tasks. Once you have a live, active customer, that customer management doesn’t stop – in fact, it’s just the beginning. The value of a fully integrated and nicely collaborative online CRM and project management system is that all project members can manage the customer to make sure that the customer always stays engaged. 

Clearly your customer is interested in working with you, but your project may not be his or her top priority. Your customer has a day job – their own work and responsibilities that they are expected to perform at their own company for their  own boss. Your project is likely add-on work to what they already do. So, sometimes customers can suddenly get pulled away. That can be a huge frustration when we need key information or help making an important decision for the project that affects both sides. To avoid this, try keeping the project sponsor assigned to some ongoing tasks and make them accountable for the weekly reporting of the status for their assigned tasks. It doesn’t always work, but it helps in most cases. And, as customer contacts are added or changed – be sure to help maintain that information in the CRM system as well.

The Revolving Project Team Lineup
Sometimes critical project team members at your customer get pulled away to other projects and there’s nothing you can do about it. This can hurt the project, and sometimes the replacement may not be of the same caliber as the original project contact from your customer. So you may be left to pick up the pieces, onboard the new project team member as quickly as possible, and keep the new project team contact satisfied and convinced that the project is still valuable to their company. There’s no faster way to transition to a new project contact than having all the historical data at your fingertips in your CRM system. If it’s appropriate, give the new project contact at your customer access to your  CRM system so they can see the history first hand. If giving the customer access to your online CRM is not appropriate, at least export the schedule/milestones so they can get a high level overview of the project status.  

The Revolving Project Milestones
You customer agreed to the project and the milestones. Now project “feature creep” is happening and your customer is constantly changing the scope of the project. Unfortunately, we can’t give a resolution to this issue because there’s a different answer for every unique situation.  However, having all project documentation in one place  -- so that it’s easy to access -- should help you tremendously when you negotiate with your customer. 

So those are three of our five items for discussion.  In Part 2, we’ll finish up with the final two.  Keep in mind it’s certainly not an all-inclusive list, so feel free to offer your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sending out sales proposals or quotes? Connect Insightly to Quote Roller!

If you're not familiar, Quote Roller helps you design and deliver elegant sales quotes to your prospects and clients. The Insightly integration makes this process even more efficient by allowing you to sync Insightly contacts and organizations to Quote Roller.  Make a great impression on your customers by creating polished, professional quotes in minutes!

If you are not a Quote Roller customer, click here to set up an accountQuote Roller is offering one month free to new accounts when you enter promo code: INSIGHTLYQR.  

If you are already a Quote Roller customer, log in to the application and set up the Insightly integration from the Settings > Integrations page.  For integration details, please see our online knowledgebase